Muslim hate monitor to lose backing

A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods. The project, called Tell Mama, claimed that there had been a “sustained wave of attacks and intimidation” against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, with 193 “Islamophobic incidents” reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend. The group’s founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said he saw “no end to this cycle of violence”, describing it as “unprecedented”. The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media. Tell Mama and Mr Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.

 

Contrary to the group’s claim of a “cycle of violence” and a “sustained wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment.

 

The Sunday Telegraph has now learned that even before Woolwich, the communities minister, the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, called Mr Mughal to a meeting and said that Tell Mama’s grant would not be renewed. The organisation has received a total of £375,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) since last year.

 

“Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers],” said one source closely involved in counter-extremism. “He was questioned by DCLG civil servants and lost his temper. He was subsequently called in by Don Foster and told that he would receive no more money.” A DCLG spokesman confirmed that Tell Mama’s funding would not be renewed and refused to deny that officials had raised concerns about its methods.

 

Other figures, collected by the police, show that hate crime in mainly Muslim areas has fallen in the past 10 years. The only large force that collects figures on specifically anti-Muslim crime, the Metropolitan Police, reported an 8.5 per cent fall in such crimes between 2009 and 2012. There was a spike in anti-Muslim incidents after the killing of Drummer Rigby. However, contrary to Tell Mama’s claims that it was “unprecedented”, the Met’s assistant commissioner, Cressida Dick, told MPs last week that it was “slightly less” than after previous terror attacks.

Woolwich and the dark underbelly of British Islam

Just about everyone, from every political party and from none, is lining up to have a go at our dim, tattooed thugs, so they must have done something. And, of course, they have. Their aggressive and moronic behaviour has caused offence and fear and may even have directly contributed to acts of violence against UK citizens and residents. And yet the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby overshadowed – or should have overshadowed – everything. The attack by adherents of a hateful and violent iteration of Islam was an awful reminder that Islamism remains, even 12 years after 9/11, the greatest threat to our way of life.

 

Uncomfortable though it is for some, a need exists to examine the dark underbelly of what goes on in some of our mosques. True, the vast majority of British Muslims would never associate themselves with Islamism. Yet preachers of hate as well as their followers and fellow travellers, worship in the same buildings, speak to, work with, and are related to that sensible majority. And those law-abiding citizens have a duty to challenge them, expel them and, if necessary, report them to the authorities.

 

Tom Harris is the Labour MP for Glasgow South and Shadow Minister for the Environment in the House of Commons. He is quoted as saying “Britain, including British Muslims, must now examine the dark underbelly of what goes on in some of our mosques and do more to confront extremists”. “Some Muslims in Britain hold essentially intolerant and violent beliefs”, he said.

Newspaper Identifies “Sharia Triangle” in the Hague

20 May 2013

Claim by newspaper Trouw that part of The Hague’s Schilderswijk district is so dominated by orthodox Muslims that they are dictating what people should wear and how they should behave, have been denied by both police and local politicians.

Under the headline ‘Hague district is orthodox Muslim territory’, Trouw said ‘short skirts and dresses are not accepted on the street’. The paper said the area, with a population of some 5,000, is known by locals as ‘The Sharia Triangle’. ‘Very slowly, the rules in the area are beginning to change,’ the article said. ‘The norms of the majority are beginning to take over.’

But locals were quick to describe the article as exaggerated. ‘We know the area is dominated by Muslims, yes,’ said local Christian Democrat leader Gert-Jan Bakker. ‘But we have never noticed that they are in control.’ Local police chief Michel de Roos told broadcaster Omroep West claims by Trouw that the police allow locals to solve their own problems is not true. The police presence in the area has been strengthened and local beat officers have a strong local network, he said.

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and MP and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders both paid visits to the district. Wilders spent 15 minutes walking through the area and did not speak to any locals, RTL news reported. ‘This is a part of the Netherlands where our norms and standards apply,’ Wilders told reporters during his stroll.

House of Commons Debates Sharia Councils

23 April 2013

 

On Tuesday, 23 April, the House of Commons held a debate on the role of sharia courts in the United Kingdom. With frequent reference to the BBC “Panorama” program on sharia councils which aired the previous evening, Kris Hopkins (Conservative MP for Keighley) sought clarification of the Government’s position on sharia councils and a guarantee that these council would not be allowed to constitute an alternative judicial system. Citing evidence presented in the BBC documentary, Mr. Hopkins raised particular concerns over the unequal treatment of women in matters of arbitration and divorce and called for the prosecution of those suspected of wrongdoing in these affairs.

 

Helen Grant, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, stated plainly that “Sharia law has no jurisdiction under the law of England and Wales and the courts do not recognize it” and that “there is no parallel court system in this country, and we [the Government] have no intention of changing the position in any part of England and Wales.” Both Mr. Hopkins and the Government were careful to emphasize Britain’s proud tradition of religious tolerance and voiced a strong determination to protect the rights of all British citizens.

 

Mr. Hopkins was motivated to broach the issue in Parliament at least in part by a statement from the Bradford Council of Mosques calling for the formalization of sharia councils. The MP expressed particular concern over calls for government recognition of sharia councils. However, local Muslim groups were quick to distance themselves from such a position. Mujeeb Rahman, a member of the Keighley Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, asserted that U.K. Muslims do not want a separate judicial system and that sharia councils in the U.K. would benefit from operating in a more rigorous legal framework.

Sadiq Khan: ‘If you’re the only one fasting at Ramadan, you do stand out’

Sadiq Khan  was appointed to the Privy Council and first asked to attend cabinet meetings in June 2009, Labour’s MP for Tooting became the first Asian and first Muslim to do so. He is quoted as saying the following on the lack of diversity in government “You can get obsessed by it and people do. Just by virtue of the fact that mass immigration only happened 30/40 years ago, there are going to be lots of first-ofs” – but the lack of diversity, not just ethnically, but “the shortage of women and of people from different backgrounds” makes it hard not to feel some sense of isolation. “When you first get to No 10 and everyone else around the cabinet table is white … If during Ramadan I’m fasting, people get it, but when you’re the only one, you do sort of stand out.”

The report continues and states that balancing his faith and his role as an MP, has not always been easy. Last month, he was the subject of a fatwa calling for his death after he voted in favour of same-sex marriage. In response Khan stated that “What all minorities need to recognise is today in a pluralistic society it’s not just a question of tolerating others, you’ve got to respect others. I challenge anybody to find another country in the world which is more progressive or has laws that protect minorities more than this country. I speak to my cousins in Pakistan or India and they make the point that because [my family] aren’t well off and don’t have contacts in those countries, notwithstanding the fact that there is a Muslim majority in Pakistan, they couldn’t dream of being in the cabinet or doing the stuff that I’ve done here, and I’m a minority in the UK both religiously and ethnically and in all sorts of ways.”

Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall on royal visit to Saudi Arabia

The Prince and Duchess were in Saudi Arabia as part of their Middle East Tour. Camilla met 30 women recently made MP’s by King Abdullah, stating “they were ‘blazing such a trail’ for women’s rights”. With one reportedly responding “You coming here is an endorsement of what is happening”. The visit will also bring up Saudi Arabia’s human rights record which is seen as a priority for the royal visitors. The execution of seven prisoners convicted of armed robbery last week and their claims of torture, trials without representation the most recent to occur. Both will attend separate segregated banquets. “The Duchess attending a women-only banquet thrown in her honour by HRH Princess Hessa Bint Trad Al Shaalan, the King’s second – and favourite – wife of four, who acts as his official consort.” With Prince Charles attending a similar all male function thrown in his honour by the King of Saudi Arabia.

 

British MPs are not taking Islamophia seriously

8 February 2013

Dr Leon Moosavi, who is a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool, took on MPs’ lack of seriousness regarding Islamophia, in an article published on the University of Liverpool website. In the article he demonstrates his point by referring to the recent Early Day Motion attempt in the Parliament.  MP Keith Vaz tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament suggesting that Islamophobia be recorded by police forces across Britain so that it can be better understood.

However, up until now, only 24 out of 650 MPs have signed the EDM for Islamophobia to be recorded by police forces. To put that neglect into perspective, Dr Moosavi mentions that, 90 MPs have signed an EDM against turtle farming and 73 MPs have signed an EDM calling for elephant protection. The Islamophobia petition has only managed to receive as many MP signatures as a petition against dog attacks on postmen.

Muslim protests against the anti-Islamic movie continue

28 October 2012

Muslims gathered at Stockton’s Muslim Welfare Trust to register their protest against the movie Innocence of Muslims. According to the organizers the demonstration was organized in order to give Teesside’s Muslim community the chance to voice their concerns over the movie.

Mahroof Hussein, Treasurer of the Muslim Welfare Trust, said: “We wanted to make sure this was a peaceful demonstration. We decided not to take to the streets because we wanted to avoid any conflict and wanted to get our point across through a peaceful gathering and the lobbying of our MPs”

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham and Hartlepool counterpart Iain Wright along with Middlesbrough Councillor, Barry Coppinger, participated in the event. They agreed to deliver a petition on behalf of the Muslim community to the Houses of Parliament regarding their concerns.

Further, a Muslim group called Jammat-e ahle Sunnat UK issued a warning that the movie is “encouraging and promoting racial and religious hate crime”.

Update: Dutch MP to Receive Australian Visa

2 October 2012

 

Following speculation that anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders would not be permitted to visit Australia, immigration minister Chris Bouwen has announced that a visa will be issued. Bouwen told ABC radio that the visa procedure had taken an extended time period because “we had to find a balance between our freedom of expression and his rather extreme views.”

British citizens are joining a so-called Jihad in Syria

There have been reports about the involvement of British citizens in the conflict in Syria. Due to the captivity of British photojournalist Mr Cantlie and Dutch photojournalist Mr Oerlemans, the British public has become concerned about young ‘jihadist’ Britons fighting in Syria. In this regard, MP Khalid Mahmood has warned the government about young British Muslims being radicalized by the conflict in Syria.

Mr Cantlie had previously informed the media that some of his captors were of British origin. He further revealed that while they were captives they also met a British doctor who was fighting against the Syrian government. The British doctor was working in an NHS hospital in London but when the uprising broke out he took a sabbatical and joined the fighters in Syria. They interviewed the doctor while he treated the photojournalists for their wounds sustained during their failed attempt to escape from captivity.

Further, BBC4’s Radio Today program has revealed the growing number of Britons fighting in Syria. Security Correspondent Frank Gardner travelled to Birmingham to investigate the news. He found that many young Britons are travelling to Turkey and easily crossing the border in order to participate in the conflict.